University of Chicago

Sleep research began at the University of Chicago when Professor Nathaniel Kleitman established the world’s first sleep laboratory in the late 1920s. He was the first scientist to concentrate entirely on sleep.  Dr. Kleitman and doctoral student Eugene Aserinsky revolutionized sleep research in 1953 when they announced the discovery of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and its association with dreaming. Later in the decade, Kleitman and one of his students, Dr. William Dement, developed the techniques of all-night sleep recording, using measurements of eye motion and EEGs of brain activity. They used these measurements to chart the sequence of sleep patterns over the course of a night. This changed the established notion that sleep was a single state. University of Chicago researchers Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen and Gerry Vogel, working with colleagues (including Dr. William Dement), described narcolepsy–the first true sleep disorder–in a landmark paper in 1963. Over the years, Dr. Rechtshaffen went on to become one of the single most respected basic and animal sleep investigators of this field performing experiments in rats that demonstrated the lethal consequences of long-term (two weeks or more) sleep deprivation. In 1968 Rechtshaffen together with Dr. Anthony Kales of UCLA standardized the scoring system for human sleep stages which is currently used today.


David Gozal, MD

David Gozal, MD, is a leading expert in the treatment of pediatric sleep disorders, the developmental neurobiology of respiratory control, and sleep-disordered breathing. He is known as a pioneer in the study of childhood sleep problems, and the relationships between sleep disorders and neurobehavioral, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease.

Dr. Gozal's research focuses on translational, or "bench to bedside," approaches to pediatric sleep disorders, such as childhood obstructive sleep apnea and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Funded by several National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, he studies: mechanisms that mediate defense responses; mechanisms that lead to complications from low oxygen levels and disrupted sleep; and long-term health and developmental consequences of chronic sleep and breathing problems during childhood.

Dr. Gozal also has held prominent positions in many professional societies. He is currently associate editor of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, deputy editor of the journals Sleep and Frontiers in Neurology, serves on the editorial board of several scientific publications and as a reviewer for more than 30 journals. An accomplished author and speaker, he has published more than 430 peer-reviewed articles, over 100 book chapters and reviews, edited two books, and lectured at scientific meetings around the world.